History

The famous artist and art historian Igor Grabar became the new patron of the Gallery.
1913

Грабарь И.Э.

In 1913 the famous artist and art historian Igor Grabar, became the new patron of the Gallery. The Council now consisted of Grabar, Tretyakov’s elder daughter P.M. Tretyakova, V.P. Ziloti, the architect R.I.Klein and the art collector A.P. Chernogubov. N.N. Chernogubov was appointed the Curator of the Gallery. It was at this time that the Gallery underwent significant changes – the so called ‘period of Grabar’s Reform.’ It was decided to rebuild the entire exhibition in the Gallery with scientific precision based on the model of major European museums which, according to Grabar ‘reveal the sequence of the evolution of art so that the visitors can easily get the very best from the museum.’

It was therefore decided that each artist should have an individual room and every work of art in the Gallery should be placed in a strictly chronological order, starting with the old Russian paintings and ending with the works of contemporary artists. All the paintings were taken out of their frames and examined and measured – a process which helped the Gallery to clarify exactly who the artist was and when it was painted. A permanent restoration workshop was also created. The re-arrangement and scientific study of the works of art were reflected in the new catalogue which was edited by Grabar and published in 1917.

These reforms – especially the re-hanging of all the paintings – caused a mixed reaction in the community. People were angry that the original exhibition plan from the days of Pavel Tretyakov had been changed. But the forward looking artistic community supported and endorsed Grabar in his quest to make the Gallery Russia’s biggest contemporary art museum.
The 1917 Revolution did not have an immediate impact on the Gallery which was nationalised in June 1918. Grabar, managed to switch from  being a supervisor to a procurer of paintings. He focused his attention not only on preserving the Tretyakov Gallery collection but also on the safekeeping of many art works which were sent to the Gallery for temporary storage at a time rife with plunder and destruction.  

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